Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY   AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

they do not realise the play offerees in the world, or the
importance of the historical process. I think they do
not grasp the way in which things really happen in the
historical realm; they do not realise that the events
which it is their task to examine are affected by die fact
that they take place in a gravitational field. Every
personality in history represents much more than the
tangible evidence can ever account for; but this does
not alter the fact that the historian must assemble around
each human being all the explanation he can' gather by
the study of antecedents and attendant circumstance

I do not think that we need be too apprehensive,
therefore, of what is sometimes called a " materialist"
interpretation of the processes which take place in
history. Indeed, it would almost be better to go one
step further and prevent misunderstanding by reversing
' th? phraseology—admitting that the technical study of
the past is in any case concerned with a limited and
concrete explanation of the human drama, since it looks
for the earthly or mundane things, it looks for the things
which can be discovered by its peculiar kind of apparatus
and attested to all men (whatever their philosophy) by
the tangible evidence. Technical history is the materialist
interpretation of the past—reached by the process of
assembling round an event the things which can be
collected in a certain kind of fishing-net, and which are
capable of being fastened down. The Christian in
particular should not be frightened too quickly, for there
is in the Christian tradition a healthy regard for the
material world, compared with which some of our
modern liberals have seemed to savour of Manichaeism.

74